TEEN PROSTITUTION GROWING CONCERN IN CNMI

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 15) - There are reports that
some teenagers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas are engaged in
prostitution, according to Speaker Heinz S. Hofschneider.

"We have our own people prostituting. Young kids are now
doing it and that’s sad," he said.

The speaker said he will introduce a bill that would require all
karaoke bars, strip joints and night clubs to move to a single area which will
make it easier for authorities to monitor their activities.

Hofschneider, R-Saipan, made these statements during a forum
yesterday at Northern Marianas College hosted by a group of political science
students to discuss the findings of their study on prostitution in the CNMI.

Based on their study, the students said "prostitution in
the CNMI is on the rise — it seems that it is a silent crime."

They said suspected prostitutes are mostly garment factory
employees.

They urged authorities to conduct unannounced inspections at all
business establishments in Garapan where prostitution activities are said to be
rampant.

The students proposed the surveillance of suspected prostitutes
and their immediate prosecution if found guilty of the offense.

But Hofschneider told the students that prostitution is no
longer confined to foreign workers.

He also blamed some locals for patronizing strip joints and
bars.

"We tend to sell our own people and then we point (to) the
non-residents, the visitors. But we must (also) admit our glaring mistakes. It’s
(hypocritical). We need to deal with that," he said.

According to the speaker, creating a zone strictly for karaoke
bars, strip joints, night clubs and other related businesses will help control
the problem. However, he added, this does not mean that he is in favor of
legalizing prostitution.

Public Safety Commissioner Edward Camacho, who was also among
the guests yesterday at NMC, admitted that it is difficult to go after those
involved in prostitution.

"We don’t have a tough enough immigration law to go
against them. It is a tough issue," he said.

The commissioner said he is also not in favor of legalizing
prostitution. If that happens, he said, the island might as well establish a
"UOP" — University of Prostitution.

"How would you feel if your daughter came to you and said,
‘Dad, I made it to the dean’s list at UOP,’ " he said.

The community should take a stand on the issue, he added.

"We must take a stand and do what’s best for the
community," he said.

May 15, 2003

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 

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